CMS releases quality, efficiency measures under consideration

December 23, 2020
Keith A. Reynolds

Almost all of this year’s proposed measures would be collected digitally, freeing physicians from manually retrieving data.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2020 list of quality and efficiency measures under consideration.

According to a news release, CMS evaluates all the measures in its programs each year in order to remove those which are less relevant and to propose new measures. Nearly all of this this year’s proposed measures would be collected digitally, freeing physicians from manually retrieving data.

“We launched Meaningful Measures because too many providers were wasting precious time and resources reporting on quality metrics, many of which were barely relevant to their specialty,” CMS Administrator Verma says in the release. “Over the last four years, this initiative has delivered better, less onerous metrics that are actually useful to those who use them. The measures we are announcing today represent more of the same. They prioritize health outcomes, reduce burden, and give providers more time to do the work they entered medicine to do: treat patients.”

Some of the highlights of this year’s list include:

  • Five outcome measures (measures that focus on the results of health care provided through Medicare), such as the rate of health care-associated infections requiring hospitalization for residents of skilled nursing facilities;
  • Five cost/resource use measures (measures that evaluate how frequently health care items or services may be used, as well as how much they might cost) – including, for example, episode-based costs associated with addressing diabetes or asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Three composite measures (which summarize overall quality of care across multiple measures through the use of one value or piece of information); and
  • Two patient reported outcomes measures (measures where the information comes directly from the patient).
  • Five process measures (measures that emphasize efforts to promote standardized best practices), such as conducting kidney health evaluations or implementing interventions for patients with pre-diabetes (the medical term for blood glucose levels that are high but not yet high enough for a type-2 diabetes diagnosis). Importantly, the 2020 list includes three process measures for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine. The measures under consideration list proposes looking at:
  1. Vaccination coverage among health care personnel,
  2. Vaccination by clinicians, and
  3. Vaccination coverage for patients in End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities